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Baby signing

Before Grace was born, I looked into using sign language with infants.  I found a plethora of information about its benefits, and I was looking forward to trying it out.  My book said to begin between six and nine months of age.  I never got around to signing during the school year, but started as soon as Grace and I were home together this summer.  

I am committed to using real American Sign Language signs, and I started with More, Eat, and Drink.  
  • The More sign has been a success.  She does the sign when she wants to play longer and when she wants more to eat.  I'm going to start using it more often, so she'll see it in different contexts.  
  • She's never done the Eat sign.  I still show it to her, and I think she'll get it eventually.
  • The Drink sign was the first one she did.  We were in Sam's Club one day, and Grace made the sign.  I gave her a drink, she lapped it down, and all was good.  

Except… Somewhere along the way, Grace began to associate the Drink sign with getting what she wanted.  It stopped being about thirst.

Now, Grace does the Drink sign when she wants something.  It's really quite cute and smart and funny how she does it.  She points, does the sign, and points again.  It means “I want that” or “Gimme that” in Grace's mind.  
So I have a dilemma.  Should I try to reteach her the Drink sign the right way and a sign for Want, to fill her need?  Or, should I just let her keep doing the Drink sign, assuming that sign language will probably go extinct once she starts really talking?  Or is there another option?

© 2008 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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4 thoughts on “Baby signing”

  1. I think personally I’d probably try and reteach, although gently- the same way you’d correct errors in speech. When she points at something she wants and signs drink, then give her a drink, or correct and say/sign “you WANT that”. You can use the sign for please to mean “I want that,” or the sign for want.

  2. I think personally I’d probably try and reteach, although gently- the same way you’d correct errors in speech. When she points at something she wants and signs drink, then give her a drink, or correct and say/sign “you WANT that”. You can use the sign for please to mean “I want that,” or the sign for want.

  3. I’m going to post about baby signing this week too!

    I agree – reteach the proper use of the sign. We had a similar difficulty with MORE – Ladybug would sign MORE anytime she wanted something. So I would say/sign “MORE what?” Then I would ask, “MORE kissies?” And I’d kiss her and we’d giggle. So I made it fun to reteach the proper use of the sign.

    I love using sign with Ladybug! It’s such a great way to communicate with a non-verbal, intelligent little human being. Her personality shines through!

  4. I’m going to post about baby signing this week too!I agree – reteach the proper use of the sign. We had a similar difficulty with MORE – Ladybug would sign MORE anytime she wanted something. So I would say/sign “MORE what?” Then I would ask, “MORE kissies?” And I’d kiss her and we’d giggle. So I made it fun to reteach the proper use of the sign.I love using sign with Ladybug! It’s such a great way to communicate with a non-verbal, intelligent little human being. Her personality shines through!

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